Photo by Jakob Ebrey
Building on the success of last year’s Road to Wales initiative International Motor Sport (IMS), the organisers of Wales Rally GB, have added even more opportunities for Britain’s up-and-coming rally stars to compete against the world’s best teams on Wales Rally GB, the concluding round of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (13 – 16 November).
There are now seven prize drives up for grabs on the International event for national crews to compete head-to-head with the best rally drivers and cars in the world. These prize drives are on offer for the top three drivers in the MSA British Rally Championship (BRC), the BRC Rally Two champion, the BRC British Junior champion, BRC Challenge winner and the BRC Stars of the future winner.
Currently fighting it out for the top spot in the BRC are County Monaghan’s Daniel McKenna (27) and Machynlleth’s Osian Pryce (21). It had been extremely tight until Pryce had a points damaging end to the Scottish Rally, retiring with gearbox issues. Consistent McKenna capitalised by winning the rally and moving twenty points clear in the title fight. With just two rounds left, it’s all to play for and Pryce has vowed to push for wins. Just four points behind, Gus Greensmith (17) from Manchester and Callum Black (22) from Brackley are tied for third place for the final prize drive on Wales Rally GB.
Incredibly Gus Greensmith, not content with fighting for third in the BRC, is also leading both the British Junior Championship and the Rally Two Championship! In the lead so far for the BRC Stars of the Future prize drive is Hatfield’s Niall Moroney (18).
Richard Sykes (48) from Stourbridge is currently leading the BRC Challenge Trophy. He competed in Wales Rally GB last year and he hopes to stay at the top of the championship to guarantee his place again for 2014.
In addition, IMS is also partnered with the British Trial and Rally Drivers Association (BTRDA) to offer a free drive in the three-day Wales Rally GB National event which runs alongside the main WRC field, covering all 12 of the stages and using the same Service Park in Deeside. Currently leading the BTRDA Gold Star Championship is Ripon’s Matthew Robinson, with Bishop Auckland’s Stephen Petch (30) and Clitheroe’s Russ Thompson (26) close behind. There are 23 points covering the top three and three rounds still to go, so it’s all to play for.
For the first time this year, IMS will also be awarding prize drives in Wales Rally GB National for the winners of the MSA English Rally Championship, the Pirelli MSA Welsh Forest Rally Championship, the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship and the McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship. The current leaders are Matthew Robinson (also leading the BTRDA Gold Star Series), Rhuddlan’s Luke Francis (25), Duns’ Euan Thorburn (27) and Belfast’s Derek McGarrity (24) respectively.
Managing Director of Wales Rally GB, Ben Taylor said: “Last year’s Road to Wales initiative proved a great way of rewarding the brightest rally prospects competing in Britain with a platform to showcase their driving skills on a global stage against the world’s best drivers. We have added a further five prize drives for this year’s Wales Rally GB taking the total up to 12 and it’s extremely exciting seeing the competition hotting up. We hope that the opportunity to contest the event will have a positive impact in nurturing and developing the careers of young rally drivers.”
For more information on the Road to Wales initiative and to view the leaderboard please visit the Wales Rally GB website: http://www.walesrallygb.com/roadtowales/index.php